2017 Volunteer of the Year Winner
Los Angelitos de Encinitas, Inc.
In 2008, Bill Sparks and his wife, Sarah, began volunteering at their children’s elementary school in Encinitas, Calif., a beach town with great economic diversity. As their engagement with the school deepened, they quickly realized the disparities in access to extracurricular and enrichment activities, especially amongst the Hispanic and low income populations that attended the school. Bill and Sarah wanted to challenge these disparities head-on by starting a non-profit organization, Los Angelitos de Encinitas, Inc., to provide access to more opportunities for low-income children in the Encinitas community. Los Angelitos organizes, promotes and funds youth sports, provides after school care, and offers academic assistance programs.
Bill’s efforts extend beyond the founding of Los Angelitos to filling Board seats, fundraising, designing new programs and serving as the organization’s biggest champion. For Bill, the most powerful experience over the past decade has been forming relationships with the families and children served by Los Angelitos. Thanks to Bill’s vision and tireless efforts, the cycle of disparity in Encinitas is beginning to lessen as low-income children have new opportunity to participate in activities and interact with children from different economic backgrounds. Children who once benefited from the organization’s programming now serve as volunteers with the group — a true testament to Los Angelitos’ impact on children’s lives in Encinitas.